Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Whether it's a train station or a lecture hall, whenever someone new enters the premises, there's always one conteingency that precipitates - everyone already standing or sitting in the room turns their heads towards the general entrance area to look at you. Everyone checks to see what kind of idiot is going to the bathroom in the middle of the movie, everyone judges the deliquent pedestrain who jaywalks across the street, everybody wants to see who didn't turned up late for the chemistry exam, and all eyes are on the people that are getting on board the bus. They check out who you are, male or female, old or young or middle-aged, what you're wearing, the expression on your face, what you're carrying, just for a brief second or two, until they've taken in the information that they want, they go back to their book, or their newspaper, or to talking to their friends.
Does every place have to be a public bathroom or changing room in order for people to mind their own business? I mean, must we all be peeing in urinals, self-consciously pulling up our underwear with a towel wrapped round our waists, or touching up our make-up in front of the bathroom mirrors, in order for people to respect what is not of their concern?
Do we have to be at church, where it's commonly considered inappropriate to face any other direction than to the altar at the front?
I can understand if you're working at a restaurant or bar, when anticipating incoming consumers is more than befitting, or when you're a salesperson in a shop making sure there aren't any customers who might need a helping-hand.
But otherwise, pretend you're seated in an airplane, and continue reading your paper, reading your book, or staring straight in front of you - you're already settled into the room, but others aren't, so make it easier for them by simply ignoring it.